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Involvement of allelopathy in the establishment of pure colony of Dicranopteris linearis

Hisashi Kato-Noguchi, Yoshihumi Saito and Kiyotake Suenaga
Plant Ecology
Vol. 213, No. 12, Special Issue: The Ecology of Allelopathy (DECEMBER 2012), pp. 1937-1944
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23362493
Page Count: 8
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Involvement of allelopathy in the establishment of pure colony of Dicranopteris linearis
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Abstract

The fern Dicranopteris linearis Underw. (Old world forkedfern, Gleicheniaceae), the most widely distributed fern throughout tropical to temperature regions, dominates and often forms large pure colonies. Allelopathic chemical interaction of the fern was speculated to play an important role in the dominance. However, potential mechanisms, in particular, the allelopathic substance have not been reported. The objective of this study was the identification of its potential allelopathic substance and the evaluation of the ecological role of the substance. Extracts of D. linearis had an inhibitory effect on Echinochloa colonum and Avena fatua which are found near colonies of D. linearis in natural ecosystems. The extract was purified and a main inhibitory substance was isolated. The chemical structure of the substance was determined by high-resolution MS, and 1 H- and 13 C-NMR spectral data and optical rotation as epicatechin-(2β → O → 7,4β → 8)-epicatechin-(4β → 8)-epicatechin (cinnamtannin B-1). Cinnamtannin B-1 inhibited the shoot and root growth of A. fatua and E. colonum at concentrations greater than 0.2—0.5 mM, and the concentrations required for 50 % growth inhibition on shoot and root growth of these plants were 0.34—1.31 mM. Cinnamtannin B-1 was found in soil under the colony, at concentrations of 4.3 and 14.5 mM in soil at the edge of and under the colony, respectively. These concentrations were over the concentration required for 50 % growth inhibition. Therefore, cinnamtannin B-1 may work as an allelopathic agent of D. linearis and may contribute to the establishment of pure colonies of D. linearis.

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